Regular brushing and flossing are the one-two punch for keeping your mouth healthy, but the products you use will affect the end result. If you have concerns about gingivitis or periodontal disease, for example, finding the best toothpaste for gums can help.
Dental Health to Gum Health
The mouth is host to a variety of bacteria, which, although live there naturally, can cause serious problems if allowed to multiply. These bacteria build up and create waste products that become the white, sticky substance you know as plaque. If this plaque isn't cleaned from the teeth on a regular basis, it becomes tartar – which can't be removed without a dental professional.
The buildup of tartar, plaque and bacteria can cause the gums to become inflamed, then infected and eventually to draw back (or recede) from the teeth. As the infection spreads, the gums, bone and connective tissue that support the tooth are damaged, and if the infection is left unchecked, can eventually erode to the point that your teeth are at risk of falling out. This process is described in detail by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).
How Brushing Helps the Gums
Brushing and flossing help keep your teeth healthy, but it's also the best way to prevent gum disease from developing. Brushing cleans plaque from your tooth surfaces and from just below the gumline. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and adds more protection under the gumline where the toothbrush can't quite reach.
In doing so, however, brushing also massages the gums, ensuring healthy blood flow to this vital tissue. A flossing toothbrush like the Colgate® 360°® Total® Advanced Floss-Tip† Bristles gives you a better reach beneath the gumline and includes a tongue cleaner to keep bacteria from starting to collect. This is why toothpaste ingredients are what they are; antifungal additives like triclosan reduce bacteria cultures to keep your gums healthy as you move the brush across each surface in your mouth.
Ingredients That Make It Happen
Although brushing with most toothpastes helps massage your gums and keep them healthy, the best toothpaste for gums is formulated with ingredients that are meant for preventing gingivitis and gum disease. One of them is triclosan, as stated above. The most important ingredient for your overall oral health, though, is fluoride. This naturally occurring mineral is added to toothpaste to prevent cavities, and can even reverse the earliest stages of tooth decay. Ultimately, keeping your teeth and gums clean and free of decay helps keep the gums free of inflammation.
The ingredient that has been specifically shown to limit the likelihood of gingivitis and gum disease is triclosan, an antibacterial agent. A study from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine showed it inhibited the growth of the same bacteria that causes plaque. Colgate Total® toothpaste therefore contains .3 percent triclosan to help you in the fight against gum disease. It also contains fluoride, of course, whereas whitening toothpastes contain baking soda and peroxide so your teeth look as good as your gums are pink.
With a diligent oral hygiene routine that includes the best toothpaste for gums – a toothpaste with triclosan, fluoride and used correctly with a toothbrush – you can be sure your gums are as healthy as they can be.